When working on my map of US Military Activities, I quickly discovered a common theme. The map can be misunderstood if the context is not there. As a result, I really need to create a corresponding map of Soviet military activities. So much of what occurred was not random, but rather a response to what "the other side" was doing. Of course, without economic, political, intelligence and a host of other activities, we still are limiting our information, but the maps will provide a reasonable starting point.
It's also worth noting that as I'm researching this information, my perspective on the cold war is not only broadening, but changing. It appears that, to a large extent, we're using Cold War strategies to approach the problems we face in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the threat model has changed so significantly that these strategies no longer apply.
If you're curious about this topic, I highly, highly recommend the book "What Terrorists Want" by Louise Richardson. On the verge of joining the IRA as a child, she went on to study terrorism in-depth, particularly in terms of motivations. The book is very readable, very well documented and a true eye opener explaining not only what we've done wrong, but what we need to get right.
I suppose it goes without saying that the Bush administration strategy doesn't particularly fare well in the book :/